Father Kevin Finnegan, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace, wrote our Discernment Prayer and continues to lead us in our ‘Advancing Our Mission’ Feasibility efforts. We call upon the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit as Father Kevin leads our community in this missional project, recalling the words of the Psalmist: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build.” (Psalm 127:1)
Available on this page are the current AOM questions and answers received from our Town Hall Meetings, surveys, personal meetings and submissions. You can also download a printable version of all FAQs here.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact the Advancing Our Mission team through the AOM Comments and Questions form.
Please use the buttons below to navigate to the relevant question category.
+ What is the vision for the growth of OLG?
We have five core objectives:
- expand ministries, enhance fellowship and build community;
- serve the whole child – mind, body and soul;
- engage new and young families – make Jesus known to families and children after Baptism;
- ensure our priests’ well-being and connectivity to the parish; and
- ensure the long-term viability of our facilities.
+ Why do we need a capital campaign?
Today, the leadership of Our Lady of Grace has a vision for how we advance our mission in anticipation of developments in our communities during the next 75 years. Due to tremendous growth in the number of people we serve – spiritually, academically, socially and physically – coupled with the constraints of our facilities, the parish faces significant limitations in our ability to serve (e.g., kitchen capacity, dining space, conference/classroom/social gathering space, parking, performing arts capability, gymnasium capacity).
A feasibility study was recently completed. This study confirmed widespread parish agreement with our needs and a desire to advance our mission of making Jesus Christ known and loved, and a willingness to support that vision.
+ How would a capital campaign support these objectives?
We are looking at the feasibility of:
- Building a parish life center
- Building a new gymnasium and performing arts stage
- Building an early childhood development center
- Building a new priest residence
- Making key updates to our parish and school campus that can no longer be deferred
+ Why is now the right time?
We are engaging with the parish community to determine if it is, indeed, the right time.
We are in a period of prayerful consideration now because we believe this is a unique time to do more than maintain the status quo. We can propose our vision for the next 75 years. As we navigate this pivotal time in our parish history, you are invited to play a role in shaping our future in a way that strengthens even more families and more deeply impacts our community. Our community (our society) needs more of what Our Lady of Grace can provide. We are meeting the call to broaden our ministries and expand the impact we make and build communities of hope.
+ How much money do we need to raise?
The answer to that question will depend on our dialogue with the Our Lady of Grace community.
Based on a high-level understanding of our needs and supporting proposal, we believe it could be $30 million. Once we have more specific feedback from an architect, we will be in a position to put more granularity around these estimates.
+ How can I help make an impact/What do you need from me?
- Pray for the cause. We will need spiritual support to sustain this ambitious undertaking. Pray for wisdom, perseverance and generosity.
- Offer your input. Your perspective is crucial as we refine this plan and prepare to launch the capital campaign.
- Spread the word. Help us generate excitement for the huge impact OLG will have if we are able to bring this dream into a reality.
- Make a gift or sacrificial pledge. This campaign will only be possible with your financial gifts.
+ How will our vision change if Fr. Kevin is reassigned to another parish?
The enduring foundation of OLG parish will be the parishioners who make up our faith community. Our vision is to build a sustainable foundation for OLG so that it can continue to serve and grow over the next 75 years. While Fr. Kevin is at the heart of our faith community today, we know he will move on to another parish at some point in the future (hopefully a long time from now). We want to build something that will endure into the future.
+ Is additional parking (especially for seniors) being contemplated as part of the plan?
Yes, parking and traffic flow are being considered and will be redesigned, as necessary, to both improve the current situation, as well as support any changes.
+ What thoughts have been given to the aesthetics of the plan? Will we maintain continuity with the rest of the campus? Will there be consideration to maintaining green space?
Maintaining continuity with the existing campus and maintaining green space will be design principles. We are blessed to have a significant amount of green space with which to work. No design decisions will be made without input from the parish community.
+ How much will all of this add to the operating expense of the parish? Do we have revenue projections for the different elements being considered in the feasibility phase?
Fiscal analysis is critical to any size campaign. During the feasibility phase, we made some assumptions, and that analysis clearly indicated the addition of buildings and the activities expected to happen within those buildings would result in increased personnel and operating expenses. However, potential components, like the preschool, would also provide a revenue stream. As the definition of a campaign continues to evolve, the economic impact to OLG will be refined and remain a critical data point when making decisions. Before moving forward with any element being considered in the capital campaign, the parish finance council would have to approve all plans and assumptions.
+ Is a new kitchen being considered as part of the capital campaign?
Yes. Our current kitchen is inadequate and it constrains our ability to support our ministries.
+ What has the process been for the feasibility phase?
Last October, Father Kevin asked parishioners, Kevin and Patty Gilligan and Doug and Cindy Fulton to lead a committee to examine the feasibility of a capital campaign. They formed a committee that includes representation across the parish.
There are major milestones for the Feasibility Phase of the Advancing Our Mission campaign these will be managed and available throughout the planning process at our AOM History and Updates page
+ What are key external trends that will shape the future of our archdiocese and how have those trends been incorporated into this study?
External trends regarding mass attendance and religious affiliation are continuously studied in our culture, at large. It is good for OLG to be aware of what is happening elsewhere, but more importantly, be vigilant as to what is happening here at OLG and why. OLG parish and school enrollment are growing, consistently. One might say, we are “bucking the trend.” Both parish and school engagement and participation are strong, and even in tough times, OLG parishioners, school families, and others touched by our ministries have proven to remain committed to our mission of making Jesus Christ known and loved – now and for the next 75 years.
+ What are the plans for the memorial terrace and the bricks that have already been placed?
The memorial terrace and pavers will remain in the courtyard. If necessary, they may be moved to another location within the courtyard (e.g., pushed out with a wall extension or relocated to the center of the courtyard), but will remain part of the landscaping.
+ Where can I go for more information? To volunteer? To submit feedback? To ask a question?
Visit the Advancing Our Mission website for more information and to submit your comments or questions.
+ What is the status of the previous campaign for a residence for priests, and how is this connected?
Approximately three years ago, an effort was undertaken by OLG parish (volunteers and staff) to raise funds for a new residence for priests on the OLG campus. Thanks to the generosity of a number of families, more than $2.1 million was raised. However, this effort was put “on hold” as the Archdiocese was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. We have now included the residence for priests as an element of this expanded vision and campaign for OLG.
+ What is the difference between a rectory and a priest residence?
Early in the process of looking at a replacement for the old rectory, we started to describe the replacement building as a “priest residence.” This name is intended to suggest the building will be used to house more than just the priests assigned to OLG. Recently, we have housed priests from our Sister parish in Ghana, seminarians from the seminary, and a priest from another parish. In the future, the priest residence could also be the home to a retired priest, helping to ensure the sacramental life here at OLG, and the western suburbs of the Archdiocese.
+ What factors contribute to the cost of the priest residence?
Our “priest residence” is not a typical residence in either location or structure. Construction and excavation are costly. For reference, if we wanted to build the old rectory exactly as it existed in the same location, it would be approximately $2.8M.
The proposed priest residence will include bedroom suites, comprised of a bedroom, modest living space and bathroom for each suite. It will include an elevator, and have a consistent look and feel with the other buildings on campus (e.g., dormers, arched windows, brick façade, standing steel roof). The location of the proposed building will require a fair amount of excavation to ensure relative privacy and enable appropriate access. Security detail will also be important, and all of these details add to the total cost.
+ What is the status of the proposed preschool?
Over the last few years, there has been much planning and discussion around the possibility of starting a new preschool at OLG. While the initial thought was opening a preschool in the fall of 2019, the current plan is to build a preschool as part of this overall vision.
+ Much of this appears focused on the school. I already support OLG Parish – is that enough?
We are one parish with one mission. Everything we do on our campus is intended to advance our ministries. We are grateful for the many ways in which parishioners support OLG and make a vibrant and growing parish. Most support for our parish and school helps pay for annual operations. The vision for this proposed capital campaign is to fund the future needs of our parish and school. Because we rely on your ongoing support for our annual operating needs, we ask that your capital campaign gift not replace or diminish your regular support for OLG parish or school. Capital campaign gifts can also be pledged over a period of time (e.g., three years).
+ If we open a preschool, won’t those students get enrollment priorities for kindergarten? Will non-OLG preschool students be able to get into OLG kindergarten?
It is premature to make specific determinations about the size of the preschool and the impact it would have on enrollment priorities. However, it is reasonable to assume that priority would be given to families who are already enrolled in the OLG preschool – similar to the way it works today for parish families having priority to get into the OLG kindergarten and/or existing OLG students being enrolled into the next grade. That said, we are also planning for additional kindergarten spots for non-OLG preschool students.
+ Are we planning to grow the school? If so, how big do we want to be?
As we advance our mission and look to the future, we are assuming the potential for our school to grow is highly possible. We do plan to add a preschool, and if necessary, we are prepared to add a fourth class for kindergarten through 6th grade.
+ Are school needs included in the deferred maintenance plan?
The deferred maintenance needs extend across the entire parish, including the school.
+ What is the difference between a preschool and an early childhood development center? Does “early childhood development center” mean “child/day care?”
OLG is not looking to add child care. There is currently a nursery program during certain weekend masses which will continue, and potentially more people will take advantage of it with new/refreshed space or providing the service after more than just the 9:30 am Mass. New/refreshed nursery space would also enable use of this space during meetings or other school and parish programs. That said, there is no additional child care programming being planned.
- A preschool for 3, 4, and 5 year olds is targeted as an addition, making for a pre-K thru 8 school (vs K thru 8). This would offer full and half day preschool learning (vs babysitting) options, as well as a summer program for children not yet in kindergarten.
- Current Sunday school offerings may be able to expand with new/refreshed space.
- Current faith formation programs may be able to expand with new/refreshed space.
- All of these programs, collectively, represent what could be labeled as an "early childhood development center." Whether that label "lives on" is still to be determined. In the meantime, Father likes to use such a label so the faith formation, Sunday school, and nursery components don't get overlooked (by a preschool).